Explore the two major themes represented at Battle of Lexington State Historic Site: the Civil War in Missouri and the culture of the Missouri River Valley. Admission to the visitor center, including its exhibits, audio-visual room and souvenir shop, is free. The visitor center opened in 1991.
Exhibits in the visitor center tell the story of Lexington during the mid-19th century. These include displays about economic growth, dependence on cash crops such as hemp, reliance on slavery, and transportation such as the river trade and Santa Fe Trail. Other displays describe the social growth of Lexington and divisions due to the Kansas Nebraska Act, border warfare and the onset of the Civil War. The story of Oliver Anderson, the builder of the house used as a hospital during the Battle of Lexington, is related throughout the exhibits. Other exhibits describe the Civil War in Missouri and the Battle of Lexington.
Visitors can watch a 20-minute video about the Battle of Lexington as seen through the eyes of Louisa Anderson, who witnessed the battle from her house. This video provides an introduction and overview of the Battle of Lexington. Copies are for sale at the gift shop, which also offer postcards, history books and Civil War-related items.
Knowledgeable interpreters conduct guided tours of the historic Anderson House and battleground on the hour. To get the most out of your visit and to better understand what occurred here in 1861, take a tour inside one of the best antebellum homes in Missouri. Each tour takes approximately 50 minutes and includes the cellar, first floor and second floor of the Anderson house, where there are several sets of stairs and uneven terrain. For those unable to climb stairs, informational booklets with descriptive text and photographs are available.
COVID-19 Temporary Hours
As of April 1, 2021, the visitor center will reopen with hours of Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a limit of 20 guests inside the building at any time. An interpretive orientation program is available in the theater room. Face coverings will be required, as the center is in Lafayette County, where there is still an ordinance in effect requiring them.
Summer Hours (On-Season)
- April through October
9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and holiday Mondays
10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday
Closed Easter Sunday
Winter Hours (Off-Season)
- November through March
10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days